2008 Bodega Uno Bonarda ($3)
100% Bonarda; 13.5% alc.
2008 Bodega Uno Sangiovese ($4)
100% Sangiovese; 13% alc.
2008 Bodega Uno Tempranillo “Roble – oak aged” ($4)
100% Tempranillo; 14.2% alc.
Samples at the Berkeley, CA store*
I had not tried a Bodega Uno product before now, but BargainWhine liked their Torrontés-Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese from the same vintage, and these three bottles appeared on the odds & ends rack at low prices, so why not?
Popped n’ poured, the Bonarda is a clear dark purple with a moderately intense nose of sweet blueberry, Concord grape jelly, and black raspberry jam. The palate presents the same fruit flavors in a medium-full-bodied format with somewhat sharp tannins and a bracing but ripe acidity, balanced by the sweetness of ripe fruit (full disclosure: I had just eaten an artichoke, which makes things seem sweeter). On the second day, the nose had faded a bit and the palate softened; although I can’t say it improved, it was still enjoyable. This unoaked, fruit-forward wine is something like a big Beaujolais with a somewhat different flavor profile, which is not I expected given that Bonarda is apparently another name for Charbono, a grape that makes big, tannic monster wines in California. Thumbs up; worth a try for the novelty factor alone.
The Sangiovese was a slightly lighter shade of reddish purple, with a pretty if somewhat light and simple nose of black cherry and blackberry – no wood, earth, funk or leather like typical Italian examples of the grape. The palate is soft and simple, with a short finish. The tannins are restrained, and there is an appropriate balance of acidity and black cherry fruit, with a respectable if not impressive amount of body and flavor depth. A decent example of a “drink-now” New World style of this grape, although just marginally identifiable as such. Thumbs up as it’s a pleasant beverage, but not a repeat buy for me even at $4.
The Tempranillo was opened at a dinner party, so we didn’t give it a proper tasting, but I took some notes afterward. The nose opens with bright pie cherries and a healthy lashing of toasty oak, which comes across a bit rough. The palate is balanced if not striking, with somewhat simple cherry/berry flavors and soft tannins. This wine was fairly rich and smooth and varietally identifiable, but it didn’t give me quite the satisfaction I’ve found with many of the Spanish tempranillos we’ve been getting lately at GO. An hour or two or a day of breathing may have helped, but it wasn’t around long enough to find out. Nobody at the table complained about it, and it was glugged down rapidly enough, with a couple of “it’s nice” comments, but no one regarded it as a memorable wine either. Thumbs up with the caveat that this may be a better wine than I’m relating here; I would be willing to try it again in a more focused tasting session.
*These bottles were apparently leftover salesman’s samples, so the prices and availability may differ, when and if they decide to buy any.